Victims of child sexual abuse often experience a lifetime of physical, mental, and financial damages. Sexual abuse can be especially damaging when it happens at the hands of a trusted adult. Often, victims stay silent about the abuse they suffered for years or even decades.
If a member of the clergy abused you, you can break your silence. Recent changes to New York law have increased the window of time that victims have to come forward and take action in civil court. A Yonkers clergy abuse lawyer may be able to help you confront your abuser and the religious institution that protected them. To learn more, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 for a free consultation.
Victims Often Remain Silent
If you kept your abuse a secret, you are not alone. There are many reasons why victims might not tell anyone about what they experienced until adulthood—if they ever tell anyone at all.
According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), children often do not tell anyone they are being abused because they are ashamed, afraid no one will believe them, or fear threats made by their abuser. Young children may not even recognize the behavior as abuse. Children may also feel a need to protect their abuser, especially if it is someone close to them, like a trusted clergy member.
Later in life, feelings of guilt, doubt, and shame may continue to plague victims. Sometimes, victims do not say anything because their memories of the abuse are unclear, or they dissociated from the traumatic experience to protect themselves emotionally. Victims may engage in denial for the same reason. They may question what they remember or may truly have no memories at all until something causes them to surface.
New York Law Gives Victims Another Chance to Speak Out
The law is beginning to recognize the obstacles that victims of child sexual abuse face in coming forward. Because of this, many states—including New York—recently amended their statutes of limitations regarding child sexual abuse to give victims more time to pursue their claims in civil court.
In 2019, the Child Victims Act was signed into law. According to the New York State Unified Court System, the legislation:
- Extends the time an abuser can be criminally prosecuted for child sexual abuse until the victim’s 28th birthday. In cases where the victim was under age 11, there is usually no time limit for criminal charges.
- Extends the time a victim has to bring civil charges against their abuser or a third party (like a church, school, or organization) to the victim’s 55th birthday. Previously, victims had only one to five years after their 18th birthday to bring these charges.
- Establishes a look-back window to give victims the opportunity to bring civil charges against their abuser or a third party, regardless of how long ago they were abused. Initially, this window was from August 14, 2019 to August 14, 2020. However, due to difficulties brought on by COVID-19, the window was expanded. The Office of the Governor announced that New York State is giving victims until August 14, 2021 to file their claims. Victims will not be barred because of their current age or prior denial of their claims under the previous statute of limitations. To take advantage of the look-back window, contact a Yonkers clergy abuse lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm right away.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Yonkers, call (800) 219-9622
The Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse
Victims of child sexual abuse often experience a lifetime of negative consequences that persist long after the abuse has stopped. According to Psychology Today, the most common side effect of child sexual abuse is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can continue into adulthood. Victims may have trouble in future relationships or be more likely to engage in risky or promiscuous sexual behavior. Suicidal thoughts and tendencies, drug and alcohol abuse, and eating disorders are all more common among victims.
These issues can amount to significant financial losses. The costs of mental and physical health services, combined with a loss of income, can add up quickly. National Public Radio (NPR) shares data from a Washington University study that found the lifetime economic impact on child sexual abuse victims can average more than $300,000. This figure does not even include awards for mental anguish or pain and suffering that can be pursued in civil court.
A Yonkers clergy abuse lawyer can help you seek compensation to pay for past and future medical treatments and the therapy needed to cope with your memories and trauma. Your lawyer may also be able to show how your abuse has prevented you from achieving economic or personal success. While money cannot take away what you have been through, it may help you heal and move forward. A verdict in your favor can provide you with closure and the knowledge that your abuser and the church have paid for the harm they caused.
Yonkers Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 219-9622
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
We know that speaking with a lawyer about what you have endured can be difficult, but our team of Yonkers clergy abuse lawyers will work hard to handle your case with respect and compassion.
Regardless of your age, gender, or how long ago the abuse occurred, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help. We are here to listen to your claims and seek compensation for you. We work on a contingency basis, which means that you pay no upfront fees or out-of-pocket costs. We only collect a fee if we achieve a successful verdict for you.
If you are ready to confront the people who hurt you, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622.